Archive for 'Montana Bounty Hunters'
Tuesday, September 8th, 2020
Maybe, you’ve already read this story. It first appeared in the anthology, First Response. If you read Cage, you have “In the Wild”, because I included it at the back of the story as a gift to you. However, if you haven’t read Cage or First Response, or even if you have and want a separate copy of this short story for your eReader, get your free copy now! This offer lasts only through Saturday!
In the Wild
After a charging bison comes between her and her latest skip, a bounty hunter must rely on the survival skills of her park ranger rescuer…
Get your copy here!
Friday, August 21st, 2020
UPDATE: The winner is…Colleen C!
I know! A second puzzle inside a week. I really do make you work hard for your prizes!
I hope that in between playing games, you’ve been reading (*cough*), and hopefully, it’s my latest release, Cage! I can’t wait to hear whether you’re ready for more fun happenings in Dead Horse, Montana!
On to the puzzle! And be sure to check the list of open contests below!
Solve the puzzle—then tell me a story for a chance
to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
These offers are still open! Enter to win!!
- Diana Cosby: Nature Through The Lens – A Creative Outlet (Contest) — Ends soon! Win a free book!
- Cage is out! (Puzzle-Contest) — Win an Amazon gift card!
Tuesday, August 18th, 2020
UPDATE: The winner is…Courtney Kinder!
My new book, BOOK #1 for the new spin-off series for the Montana Bounty Hunters, is here! The first book is important. It introduces you to the town and introduces the first hunters who will inhabit the Dead Horse office. From here, who knows where the series will go!
If you have a chance to read it, please consider leaving a review on your favorite website. Reviews really do help an author!
Get your copy here!
It’s FREE in KU!
I had fun naming businesses in my town of Dead Horse, Montana. The townsfolk went a little nuts with the “dead theme”. There’s the Dead Easy Saloon, the Dead Horse Walk-in (get it?) Diner, etc.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, either try to work on the “dead” theme to help me with some more groan-worthy “deadly” names, or if your well of wit is dry, tell me if you’ll be visiting Dead Horse, MT anytime soon!
Monday, August 17th, 2020
I’ve been writing now for a number of years in multiple genres. I can honestly say I’ve never had more fun than I have writing about my Montana Bounty Hunters. So, when I was approaching the last story of the last hunter in the series, I thought hard about what I wanted to do next. The solution was pretty easy.
I’d write more. However, the MBH agency in Bear Lodge, MT was chock full of hunters. I needed my bounty hunter agency to expand, so I chose another location in Montana, fictional again, of course, so I could have more fun with a new set of hunters, and this time, use the town itself as a new “character” in my story. So, welcome to Dead Horse!
The book will be available solely through Amazon, at first. I want as many folks who want to get it through Kindle Unlimited for FREE as possible. I already have the print version uploaded, too. That link will come soon. In the meantime, meet the first hunter in the series…Cage.
A former SEAL and MMA fighter, and now, newly minted bounty hunter, has to hunt down his first skip…his ex-wife.
Former SEAL Cage Morgan thinks he doesn’t need anyone. As a rising MMA fighter, he makes enough to do what he wants and doesn’t have to answer to anyone.
Then an old friend sends an emissary, Reaper Stenberg from the Montana Bounty Hunters, to offer him a job. He agrees to meet him, but he has no intention of becoming a bounty hunter…until he hears who Reaper needs his special skill set to take down—his ex-wife.
Elaine Morgan is facing jail time due to her chosen line of work. She runs an illegal, underground fight club with her brother. Up until now, she’s always run clean, fair fights, but her brother owes money to the wrong people. As she prepares to the take the rap for his poor judgment, she misses her court date—that’s just one more stressor to add to the pile, and she doesn’t have time to worry about the consequences.
Until the night of the fight that will free her brother of his dangerous debt. Only her ex-husband shows up there, telling her he’s taking her in, and he has the friends with him to get the job done. The hunters’ poor timing sets off a chain of events that has the Montana Bounty Hunters staging a daring rescue.
All the while, Cage and Elaine revisit their past love, finding that the time apart put their problems in a better perspective. As their connection grows, they both fear an uncertain future.
Opening scene from Cage…
As he approached the front door to the Dead Easy Saloon, Cage Morgan flexed his hands, wincing as he did so due to the deep bruising on his knuckles. Still, sore knuckles felt like a small price to pay considering the size of the purse he’d won the previous night at the MMA bout in Bozeman.
Thinking about the $36,000 deposit he’d made at the bank that morning, he wondered why the hell he’d agreed to this meeting in the first place. Cage’s needs were simple, and the purse would pay his bills for the next four to six months until he accepted the next match.
However, he owed Fetch Winter the courtesy of meeting with his representative to talk about the possibility of a job. He didn’t owe him a “yes,” but he had agreed to listen. Fetch had led the unit that had pulled his ass out of a firefight which had killed several of his SEAL teammates back in Afghanistan a lifetime ago.
From the outside, the meeting place was like any other roadhouse bar. Wood plank siding, a tin roof, and a red neon “Open” sign. He climbed the three steps to the porch then opened the door. Music played on a jukebox, customers lined a well-polished counter, and in the rear, the crack of striking balls and groans sounded from the pool tables.
As he passed the bar, the bartender’s gaze narrowed on him, and then a broad smile spread. He lifted his chin to Cage. “Great fight last night.”
Cage lifted his eyebrows and gave him a little salute but didn’t stop. He made his way to a small round table tucked into a corner of the main room and took a seat.
A waitress with dirty blonde hair so straight it had to have been ironed paused beside his table. “What can I get ya, hon?”
Her smile was flirtatious, and while she was kind of cute for a middle-aged woman in a skin-tight tank with the bar’s logo on the front and short blue-jean shorts, he wasn’t interested in encouraging her to linger. “Whatever beer’s on tap will do,” he said and pulled a twenty from his wallet.
She smiled and moved away, her skinny hips wagging.
She was back inside a minute with a foamy beer and handed back his twenty. “Kip, the bartender, says it’s on the house. He won a pile of money last night on your fight.”
He pushed back the twenty. “You keep it then, and thank Kip.”
Just then, a commotion sounded at the entrance of the bar. “Damn, are you Reaper, that dude on TV?” asked a man who was holding onto the arm of a large man wearing a ballcap who was trying to get through the doorway.
Cage watched as the man who looked like he belonged on a Viking longboat shook the man off his arm.
Cage couldn’t make out what he said to the smaller man, but the guy held up his hands and backed away, grinning. As soon as the big man’s attention left him, he scurried to the bar, leaning over the counter to talk to Kip, whose gaze shot to the big man.
He watched the man in the ballcap grimace then step deeper inside the bar, his eyes narrowing as he searched the counter and then the tables. Cage knew the second when his gaze came to rest on Cage, because the other man tipped his chin before striding his way.
As the man approached, Cage assessed him like he always did, sizing him up as a possible opponent in the ring. They were of a similar height and weight. His arms and chest looked powerful. However, Cage could tell by the way the man moved that he wouldn’t have his same speed. Not that he was planning to fight this guy, but old habits died hard.
The big man stopped in front of his table. “You Cage Morgan?”
The man sat and whipped off his cap. “Thought the hat would work.”
Cage’s mouth twitched. “That was supposed to be some kind of disguise?”
The other man made a sound a bear might make just before it took a bite. “Fetch sent me.”
“Said I was to try to schmooze you into taking a job.”
“I’ve been wondering why he isn’t here to do it himself.”
The other man raked a hand through his long blond hair. “I’m here to set up the satellite office. He’d have come, but he said we didn’t need the big guns. That you’d want this job once you heard what it was all about.”
Cage grunted and sat back in his chair. “You’re the guy in that reality TV show.”
Reaper gave him a dead-eyed look. “If I wasn’t makin’ bank, I’d take exception to your tone, dude.”
Cage snapped his fingers. “What’s it called?” He pretended the name escaped him.
“Bounty Hunters of the Northwest,” the other man said, sounding bored.
“Right!” Cage grinned. “I liked the episode when that wild man chased the bear.”
“His name’s Animal.”
Cage chuckled. “Fits.” He picked up his beer and drew on it, not knowing exactly why he was trying to rile the other man. Maybe it was because he viewed him as a competitor, and his instinct was to start the psych-out before a fight. Or maybe it was because he wanted to make sure the man didn’t waste a lot of time trying to convince him to take a damn job he didn’t want. “Can’t remember your name, though,” he lied.
“Reaper. Reaper Stenberg,” the big man said, his words a little garbled like he was grinding his teeth.
“Right,” Cage said. He took another swallow and waited for Reaper to give his pitch, but the waitress sauntered over again.
Her gaze went from Cage to Reaper, and Cage knew what was on her mind. Too bad for her, he knew Reaper was married, and he flat didn’t get into bed with another man, even if their dicks never touched.
“He’ll have the same as I’m having,” Cage said to hurry her away.
She was back inside a minute and set a beer in front of Reaper. He handed her a twenty.
“No, Kip said it’s free. He watches your show,” the woman said, sounding out of breath.
“Keep the tip,” Reaper said than turned his attention back to Cage.
The woman’s mouth tightened, but she moved along to another table.
“Saw you fight in Bozeman last night,” he said, his gaze direct.
Cage curled his fists and grimaced at the throbbing ache. “McMann gave me a run for my money.”
“You fight well. Heard you came to MMA through less than legal fights.”
Cage gave him a hard stare. “That was a long time ago.”
“Three years.” He took a sip of his beer. “Least, that’s what I hear. Bareknuckle stuff’s not for sissies.”
Cage almost smiled at the grudging compliment. “No, it’s not, but it’s hard on the body.”
“We could use someone like you. Fetch says you were a SEAL.”
Cage straightened in his chair. “I was.”
“Marine,” Reaper said, pointing at his chest with his glass.
“Won’t hold it against you.”
Reaper’s mouth twitched. “We’re building an office here. Broke ground last week. We hope to hire on eight to ten hunters to cover southwest Montana and into Wyoming and Idaho.”
“Sounds ambitious. From your TV show, it looks like you guys are sweeping up all the trash. Sure you’re leaving enough work for another agency?” Cage didn’t know why he asked. He still wasn’t interested, but he was curious about what Fetch was hoping to accomplish.
“America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Long as that doesn’t change, we’ll have plenty of bounties to go around. And it’s not just bounties on folks skipping their court dates or mandatory drug testing. We help find prison escapees, pitch in on law enforcement manhunts—anywhere our particular talents are needed. Our Bear Lodge office helped bring in a terrorist who was recruiting anti-government whackos intent on building an army here in Montana.”
“That all sounds fine and dandy for someone who wants to be a bounty hunter. I don’t.”
“Well, Fetch thinks you might change your mind when you hear who we’re hunting. He needs someone with your skills to get close enough to make the takedown.”
Cage narrowed his eyes. “My skills?”
“Your experience in those illegal fight clubs. You’ve got connections that can get you inside.”
Cage shook his head. He hadn’t been a part of that world in years. “Not interested.”
“Ask me who we’re hunting,” Reaper said, his expression neutral, his stare boring into Cage’s.
Cage was curious all right, but he didn’t want to ask. Didn’t want to know. He’d left that world and never looked back. Had the scars and the tattoo, thank you very much.
“Fetch explained how the money works, right? What a hunter gets as a percentage of the bond.”
“He did. And I still told him no.” Hunting people was something he’d done when he’d been in the Navy, and he’d been damn good at it. However, hunting Americans wasn’t something he had the stomach for.
“Ask me,” Reaper said, his voice lowering.
Cage wanted to tell him to go to hell. But he also wanted to know, because the hairs on the back of his neck were rising. Deep inside, he was still that man, the one who always found his target and always took him out. A cool dread washed over him, and he drew a deep breath. “Okay, I’ll bite. Who are you hunting?”
Reaper’s mouth curved. “Your wife.”
Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
UPDATE: The winner is…flchen1!
Just a quick note before we play!
Next Tuesday, I have a new release—the first in the Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series! If you loved my hunters in Bear Lodge, with their intrepid/accident-prone warrior-leader Reaper, I think you’re going to love Cage, too! Be sure to pre-order your copy!
A former SEAL and MMA fighter, and now, newly minted bounty hunter, has to hunt down his first skip…his ex-wife.
Solve the puzzle then tell me if your favorite hobby is anything like mine for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Wednesday, June 24th, 2020
UPDATE: The winner is…bn100!
Pre-order your copy here:
Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
Well, the book is in the can! Film-speak for it’s loaded and ready for release day! I can’t be more excited! The stories are all soooo good, with a wide variety of themes and genres! Something for everyone!
My own story, “In the Wild” is related to my Montana Bounty Hunters series. In fact, the hunter in this story will appear in the spin-off series, Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT! She’ll have her own full-length story, but you can meet her below in the excerpt. Yes, HER! 🙂
Have you checked out my Collections website where all my anthologies “live”? We’re running a ton of contests. If you haven’t already been on that site, here’s a list of contests that are still open. While you’re busy entering to win something, be sure to check out the authors who are part of this anthology. There are some very familiar names (Elle James, Reina Torres, N.J. Walters, Melanie Jayne) and some authors you might not be aware of just yet. You’re going to find new authors to stalk, promise!
Contests Still Open on the Collections Website
Megan Ryder: Claiming Lyla (Contest–4 Winners!) — Absolute last day to enter! (Okay, so this one’s right here! Still counts!) Win books or a gift card!
January George: Blackout (Contest) — Absolute last day to enter! Win an Amazon gift card!
Tray Ellis: Falling Off the Single Track (Contest) — Absolute last day to enter! Win an Amazon gift card!
Melanie Jayne: Drive (Contest) — Absolute last day to enter! Win the ENTIRE NOVUS SERIES!
Megan Ryder: Claiming Lyla (Contest — 4 Winners) — Absolute last day to enter! Win an anthology or an Amazon gift card!
Reina Torres: Far From Over (Contest — 2 Winners!) — Win an anthology!
- Margay Leah Justice: Handcuffs and G-strings (Contest) — Win an anthology!
- Kimberly Dean: Thinking Time (Contest — 3 winners!) — Win an audiobook!
- Elle James: Sheltering Charlotte (Contest — 2 Winners!) — Win a FREE book!
So, yes! A ton of contests! Have you entered? Don’t miss the contest I’m running here, today. You’ll find it under the excerpt from my story!
Excerpt from Delilah’s story, “In the Wild”
If not for her GPS device, Martika Mills wouldn’t have had a clue where she was. All she knew was that she was soaked to the skin, mud sucked at her boots, and two days into this hunt, she was no closer to finding Marlon Oats.
Earlier that morning, after sliding a twenty to a gas station attendant on the Montana border, she’d thought she was getting close. She’d gotten a description of the car Marlon had “borrowed” on his flight into the wilderness and had found it parked in a narrow roadside viewing point, just inside Yellowstone National Park.
After that, she’d followed the narrow stream into a deep gully off the road, knowing Marlon considered himself quite the fisherman, or so his mother had said. No doubt he intended to live off the land until the heat died down after he’d failed to make his date with the judge in Helena, where he was due to be tried for robbing a pawn shop in Springdale at gunpoint. His mother had been very helpful, liking the fact that Marti seemed like “a nice girl” who might “ask” her son to let her put him in handcuffs rather than shooting him. His mother didn’t want Marlon hurt, even though his skip might cost her the home she’d lived in since she’d married Marlon’s no-account, long-dead father.
Marti was just about to call it a day, figuring she had just enough daylight left to get back to her SUV parked behind Marlon’s at the roadside park, when she spotted a puff of dark smoke rising over the gully. Noting its direction, she climbed up a steep embankment, seeking footholds in mud and rock and grabbing vines along the sides of the rocky face until she stood at the top and realized the land on this side of the stream was flatter and filled with tall spring grass—and a herd of buffalo that didn’t seem to pay her any mind as she bent over and dragged in deep breaths. She glanced at her hands braced on her knees and grimaced, because they were covered in mud, which she shouldn’t give a shit about because her jeans were streaked with dirt as well.
Marlon had a lot to answer for, but thoughts of the rich bounty she’d score kept her from throwing in the towel. Her mother liked to say that stubborn was her middle name, which was a quality that worked well in her line of work. She always got her man because she never, ever gave up. She’d been bounty hunting for nearly three years now, the last one going solo because she didn’t like sharing her bounty with a partner or an agency, although she was considering working for one again. Agencies often served as bail bondsmen, too, and therefore had the downlow first on the richer bounties. Fetch Winter from Montana Bounty Hunters had been working on recruiting her to join a new satellite office he was trying to get off the ground in Dead Horse, Montana, to service southwest Montana and into Wyoming. He needed hunters with experience, and he’d heard good things about her.
She’d heard good things about the agency, too, if a you discounted the cable TV show that followed his hunters out of Bear Lodge. Fetch gave his crews a higher percentage of the bounty than most agencies did, and he’d assured her that he wouldn’t be looking to do any spin-off series featuring his other offices, but he had admitted that the bonuses for the hunters who permitted the production crews to accompany them were very generous. The job was hers, if she wanted it.
But first, she had to find Marlon Oats.
Trying her best not to draw the herd’s attention, she walked along the edge of the ravine, keeping within the narrow line of trees standing along the edge of the ravine as she made her way toward the place she believed a campfire had been lit.
As she drew closer, she stayed hidden and peered into a clearing. A small tent had been pitched, one that had seen better days. One of the screen windows was torn, and one of the poles that held up the tarp over the door was missing. But she couldn’t make out whether anyone was presently occupying the campsite.
Just then, she heard movement coming from the stream below and a soft off-key whistling. Hunkering down, she waited patiently until the person climbed over the edge of the embankment and stood.
“Marlon, you sweet idiot,” she said under her breath. Her heartbeats quickened, and she drew slow breaths. She needed calm, not adrenaline, to get closer to her target.
Marlon strolled toward his campsite holding a string of four fish, which he lowered into a pot beside the fire. As he began taking them out, one at time, gutting and filleting them, and then tossing the pieces into a pan he’d filled with oil, she moved closer, choosing her footsteps carefully, grateful for the chorus of gargling grunts from the buffalo nearby that masked the sounds her feet made in the suctioning mud.
She studied Marlon to see what challenges he might present. A rifle leaned against the tent, and he held a knife in his hand. Slowly, she dropped her backpack to the ground and drew her own 10mm Remington from the holster on her thigh, and then began to work her way toward the edge of the tree line, knowing she’d eventually have to expose her position to prevent him from making a move toward the rifle.
Soft chuffing grunts sounded from the herd, but she ignored the animals, keeping her gaze fixed on the more dangerous game in front of her.
Then she stepped on a twig, and it snapped.
Marlon’s gaze swung toward her position, and his eyes widened. His gaze shot to the rifle, but she shook her head.
“I’m a Fugitive Recovery Agent, so you know why I’m here,” she said, keeping her tone low and hard.
Eyes still wide, his body tensed as though he was preparing to bolt upwards and make a run for it.
“Don’t even think about running,” she bit out.
He blinked, and his gaze went to something behind her. “Bitch, you might want to think about making a run for it.” Then a smile stretched across his face as he slowly stood and waved his arms.
What the fuck…?
Then she heard it. A deep, gargling grunt. With her handgun still held in both hands in front of her, she darted a glance behind her.
A large bison bull faced her from about twenty feet away, his head lowered toward the ground, his gaze fixed on her.
Marlon laughed then darted toward the tent.
No way was she letting him get anywhere near that rifle, even if he promised to shoot the bull. As big as the fucker was, Marlon’s peashooter wouldn’t do anything more than piss the animal off. “Marlon!” she rasped as loudly as she dared as she weighed her rapidly dwindling options. “Stay clear of that rifle, or buffalo or not, I’ll shoot your ass.”
“Your choice,” he said, raising a hand to his mouth and issuing an ear-piercing whistle. Then he turned and ran toward the gully.
Another grunt, this one louder and harsher, sounded, and she knew she couldn’t just stand there; she broke into a run, following Marlon as he ran parallel to the gully, keeping twenty yards ahead of her.
Behind her, she heard the heavy thud of hooves striking damp earth, coming closer and closer.
Any second now, she’d have to veer toward the gully and jump, and hope like hell that she didn’t break something on the way down.
Then another sound came from a distance. An engine. Something small. She dared to glance back and saw an ATV running parallel but slightly behind the bull. The person driving it wore a green Park Service uniform.
Oh, thank God! But was he too late to distract the angry animal from trampling or goring her to death?
Ahead of her, Marlon gave a gleeful laugh and ran toward the naked edge of the gully, took one last glance behind him, then slid down the side on his ass, disappearing from sight.
Time for her to do the same, although with the way her hiking boots were gliding in the muck, she thought she’d be a lot less graceful and likely pitch headfirst over the rocky ledge.
The ATV’s motor revved, bringing it closer by the sound behind her. But she didn’t dare glance backward. The bull’s hooves were shaking the ground beneath her feet.
With her lungs and legs burning, she veered right, just as the ATV pulled into the path of the bison.
She peeked behind her again. The buffalo slowed then gave a loud chuffing grunt, trotting now behind the ATV. The ranger slowed, too, coming alongside her and reaching out an arm.
No way could she swing onto the back. She wasn’t particularly graceful, would miss by a mile, and get trampled for her efforts. She waved him away and veered toward the ravine.
Glancing backward, she watched the idiot ranger stop his ATV and begin waving his arms high over his head as he walked backward towards her.
“Get on the ATV,” he said, his voice calm as the buffalo ran several steps forward then made a little circle, which left him a few feet farther away when he halted, still grunting his warnings.
How like a man.
“I’ll take my chances in the ravine,” she snapped. “Besides, that’s where my skip went.”
“Get on the goddamn ATV! I’m trying to rescue your ass.”
“They teach you how to talk like that at ranger school?”
“Jesus Fucking Christ.”
He walked toward her, giving her Remington a hard glare.
She holstered it quickly but backed away, holding out her hands. “We’re good. The bull’s more interested in your Tonka toy than me now.”
Just then, the bull proved her right when he ducked his head and butted against the ATV, flipping it onto its side.
For a chance to win a copy of one of our previous Boys Behaving Badly Anthologies, let me know whether you’ve already pre-ordered your copy of FIRST RESPONSE!
Sunday, May 31st, 2020
UPDATE: The winner is…ButtonsMom!
The Montana Bounty Hunters series located in Bear Lodge is complete. However, I’m planning to write a spinoff series, Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT very, very soon. I loved writing the original series, and I can’t wait to immerse myself writing more of these heavy-duty, gritty guys in the near future. Have you seen the cover for Cage, which will release in July? Yeah. His story will rock! Some of the guys you love from the original series will pop up here and there in Dead Horse—after all, they all work for Fetch Winter. Someday, he’ll get his happy-ever-after, too!
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Sparks fly, as do inhibitions, when a bounty hunter and a beautician are forced to hide out together from a dangerous criminal gang…
Former Army Ranger Quincy James and beautician Tamara Davis met under less than idyllic circumstances–trapped inside her doomsday-bunker-turned-beauty-shop while he was hunting a skip. Now that he’s settled into his new job with the Montana Bounty Hunters, he knows he’s dawdled too long asking her out on a legitimate date. But then, he gets a new case right in the pretty beautician’s neck of the woods. A dangerous new assignment he doesn’t want her anywhere near, However, NOT bumping into her proves tricky and when they do cross paths, he blows it.
Tamara’s already feeling foolish over the fact she got way too friendly with Quincy when they were trapped together, but then, he never contacts her again. When she sees him on the street in her little town, she’s ready to give him a piece of her mind, but he acts like he doesn’t know her. What the hell?
When the pair find themselves forced together again, there’s time for a reckoning…
Are you all caught up reading the Montana Bounty Hunters?
For a chance to win a download of one of the stories you may have missed
(I’ll pick three winners!), tell me this:
Are you ready for more sexy bounty hunters?
Here are all the Montana Bounty Hunters!
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS
Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
Reaper’s Ride: https://amzn.to/2KKkisI
Big Sky Wedding: https://amzn.to/33GprwK
Excerpt from Quincy
Tamara Adams blew at a strand of hair that flew into her eyes. Her hands were filled with flyers advertising her beauty shop, Curl Up & Dye, and she’d been papering the windshields of vehicles up and down Main Street. This was her latest idea to draw attention to her shop. If something didn’t give soon, she’d have to pay for a station in someone else’s shop, and she’d never realize her dream of owning her own business.
When she came to the line of motorcycles parked in front of S&S, she nearly passed them by. She really didn’t want to attract that caliber of customer, but then again beggars couldn’t be choosers.
Without windshield wipers to clamp against her papers, she used pretty washi tape to attach the flyers and quickly made her way down the row, eyeing the window of the bar with trepidation, because she really didn’t want any ornery biker confronting her about “trashing up” his bike.
Just as she was taping the last flyer to bug-spattered glass, she heard a commotion erupt inside the unsavory establishment. Curious, she strode toward the plate-glass window to peer inside, but the window was dirty and the interior of the bar wasn’t brightly lit, so she shielded her eyes and leaned closer to the glass. What she saw had her eyes widening.
An honest-to-goodness barfight was underway inside. From what she could tell, a bar filled with brawny biker-types faced three equally brawny dudes, but what the trio lacked in numbers, they made up for in sheer meanness.
The two in the center of the bar sent one biker after another flying through the air from well-placed kicks and bone-rattling punches. One of the men wore a prosthetic arm, which he used to great advantage, following his powerful left-fisted punches with thudding body blows delivered by his mechanical arm.
To the left, she watched as a huge orange-bearded man grabbed the third brawler by his collar, only to be head-butted, and while still stunned, swing an arm wide, which propelled him over the hunched body of his adversary where he landed flat on his back and sucking wind.
Curiosity satisfied, and her original gut instinct to give the bar a wide berth confirmed, she moved back from the glass and returned to the curb where she reached over the hood of a car and stuck her pink flyer under a wiper blade.
The door behind her swung open, and she peered over her shoulder.
A familiar man appeared, his gaze sliding past her bent-over body before returning to glance up at her face. His eyes widened for a second, but then he quickly turned his head and walked away.
What. The. Fuck. The man she’d mooned over for weeks, before she’d realized he’d never intended to call her after they’d shared an afternoon of illicit delight, had just walked past her like he didn’t even know her. Not a nod. Not a “Hi, there.” Not a knowing, smirky smile. Nothing.
Her breath caught in her chest as she acknowledged the blow. She’d actually thought they’d shared something special. And she’d been making excuses for his failure to communicate all this time.
Just that morning as Miss Gracie had finished stocking the shop’s refrigerator with her eldercare protein drinks, Tamara had leaned an elbow on her table as she’d sat in her beautician’s chair staring into the lit mirror, remembering how he’d sat there and flirted with his sexy, hazel-green eyes—after she’d zip-tied him to the chair. After all, she’d just been locked inside her bunker by a bail jumper on the lam. The new stranger had claimed to be a bounty hunter, but why should she trust him? His dark beard and intense gaze had sent shivers of awareness through her body.
Okay, so she had a thing for bad boys. Obviously. She’d dated some real winners, but this time, she’d thought…well, she’d hoped…that Quincy James wasn’t a douchebag.
As he strode purposefully away from her, her heart hammered against her chest, and her eyes stung with tears that she quickly blinked away.
No way in hell was he getting away with pretending he didn’t know her. Or worse, that she was bubblegum stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Holding her sheaf of flyers against her chest, she ran after him.
When she caught him, she’d give him a piece of her mind. A man did not use a woman and make sexy promises with his eyes. He’d fooled her with his I don’t know how to flirt with a woman bullshit line. She’d swallowed it—and his big cock—and then she’d waited, day after day for him to call. Hell, she’d turned down a date with Mason Jernigan, whom she’d planned to seduce into asking her out on a date before Quincy had been trapped inside her shop. But no! She’d turned Mason down. A good looking man who owned his own small car dealership had asked her out on a date, but she’d held out for the hope of Quincy James, because she wanted more of his wicked kisses.
“Stupid! That’s what I am,” she muttered under her breath. “Thirty fucking years old and I wasted a month of my prime years for you, Quincy James.” She picked up her pace, but although she was running, his long-limbed gait still left her breathless. When he turned the corner to enter a dark alley beside the bar, she didn’t hesitate. She was too mad to take heed of the warning bells ringing in her head. The dark narrow space smelled like old beer and vomit, and her Sketchers made a sound similar to the one they made when she walked across the floor surrounding Miss Gracie’s station where the buildup of hairspray sucked at the rubber bottoms of her shoes.
Ahead, Quincy moved more furtively, running up to the corner of the building to the access road behind the business. She slowed and melted into the shadows, wondering what the hell he was up to, and then he flattened his back against the wall. She did the same, not knowing why, but the tension in his frame transmitted a jolt of fear into hers.
Just then a tall, greasy-haired, bearded man slipped around the corner, moving so quickly he didn’t see Quincy, but he did see her. His eyes widened. “You with those damn bounty hunters, too, bitch?” he growled, not slowing down as he came toward her.
“Not a bounty hunter,” she squeaked. “Beautician.” She raised her flyers to prove her claim, but it was too dark for him to read, or maybe he’d already made up his mind, because the snarl on his face nearly made her wet her pants.
Panicked, she tossed up the flyers like they were a ninja’s magic dust, turned on her heel, and ran for the street.
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